Transcript: Sen. Tim Scott on "Face the Nation," Nov. 12, 2017

In an interview on "Face the Nation" Sunday, Sen. Tim Scott, R-South Carolina, discussed tax reform, his party's defeat in the Virginia governor's contest, and allegations about Roy Moore.

What follows is a transcript of the interview, which aired Sunday, Nov. 12, 2017, on "Face the Nation."


JOHN DICKERSON: We turn now to what's going on here at home, and Republican Senator Tim Scott -- he joins us from Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. Welcome, Senator. Senator, a number of your republican colleagues, Mike Lee, Steve Daines, Senators from Utah and Montana, have said these allegations about Roy Moore, require him-that they have unendorsed him. Others have said he should step out of the race. What do you think?

TIM SCOTT: Well, certainly, the allegations are very, very strong. The denial was not as strong as the allegations. I think, if the allegations are true, there's no doubt that he should step aside, and not for the party, but for the American people. We have to find a way to restore trust and confidence in our elected officials, in our government. And this goes in the wrong direction.

JOHN DICKERSON: In this case, though, if the allegations are true, he's denying them, how do you find proof? What seemed interesting about what Mitt Romney said and Lee and Daines have said is they've looked at the case as presented by The Washington Post. And that was sufficient evidence for them.

TIM SCOTT: There's no doubt that the case is compelling. The judge and the jury, in this case, will be the people of Alabama, the voters of Alabama. They will have an opportunity to weigh in very clearly and decisively and very shortly.

JOHN DICKERSON: Do you- what's your reaction to some of the supporters in Alabama, Republicans, who've said, even if this is true, they still support Moore? That's the voters of Alabama having their say. But does that have any effect on the larger Republican Party?

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Sen. Tim Scott on "Face the Nation"

CBS News

TIM SCOTT: Well, certainly. I think the reality of it is the voters will be heard. And we had very good candidates in that race. We had Luther Strange and Mo Brooks, who was a classmate of mine, when I came into Congress, both very fine men. The reality of it is that the ripple effect on the Republican Party is yet to be determined.

TIM SCOTT: The truth of the matter is we ought to be a party focused on principles. And we should govern according to those principles. And when we find ourselves across ways with those principles, it's difficult for the American people to understand what direction we want to take them. One of the ways that we solve that problem, from a policy standpoint, is tax reform. But this current situation will have to be solved by the people of Alabama. And the voters will be the judge and the jury.

JOHN DICKERSON: All right. I'm going to move on to tax reform. The Senate bill that came out this week, it delays the corporate tax cut that the president very much wants until 2019. Some White House sources say that this is going to hurt growth that's so important to the tax cut. What's your feeling on that?

TIM SCOTT: Well, certainly, when you talk to corporate America, the businesses in our country, what they say is that the higher corporate tax rate for the next year will give them an opportunity to write off many of the expenses that a higher tax rate, which makes those expenses, writing them off next year, more valuable.

TIM SCOTT: But the sooner we get to the 20% tax rate, the better off we are. The fact is that only individuals actually pay that tax. The tax is paid by employees with lower salaries, consumers with higher prices, and investors with lower returns. So we have to get that corporate tax rate down to a competitive position. We now have the highest corporate tax rate in all of the industrialized world. We cannot compete at that level.

JOHN DICKERSON: Well, of course, some people dispute that fact, because of what corporations can do to get around those taxes. There was a lot of reporting recently about tax havens. This bill doesn't really take care of that. People will still be able to- corporations will still going to be able to hide money in tax havens. Should legislation be doing more to make it impossible to hide money in offshore accounts?

TIM SCOTT: Well, the good news is one of the first steps that we take in this corporate tax restructuring is a deemed repatriation, which basically says, wherever your assets are anywhere in the world, we're going to have a minimum tax on it immediately of 10% on our plan, 5%, if it's not a liquid asset, so as to bring those resources home, so that we can create more jobs.

TIM SCOTT: Our business tax restructuring will create somewhere near a million jobs over the next ten years, American jobs created here at home because we're going to have an opportunity to be competitive. And this is really good news for the average person in this nation that wants to see the jobs of the future created here at home.

JOHN DICKERSON: Let me ask you about the average person. There's no question that, in this bill, corporate tax rates are going down. There's been no study that suggests that they won't. But there's been quite a lot of dispute about whether the middle class is really going to get a tax cut.

JOHN DICKERSON: The Joint Committee on Taxation has determined that, by 2023, those middle-class tax cuts, for some people, are not going to be around. If this is being sold as a middle-class tax cut, shouldn't there be total certainty about every middle-class person getting a tax cut, no matter what year it happens to be?

TIM SCOTT: We certainly are at a place where the vast majority of taxpayers will see a tax cut. Every single bracket will have lower taxes. The reality of it is that, if you define middle income, middle America, as $73,000, because it's the average income per household in the country, that average household will see their taxes go down by $1,500.

TIM SCOTT: Those folks living in a single-parent household, head of household, could see their taxes cut in half. And the folks living in a dual household of $117,000 see their taxes going down. The real question is, when we define the middle class around $250,000 or $300,000, which is in the top 5% of income in the country, you do have some times where 80% of the taxpayers see their taxes go down. Single folks, like myself, may see their taxes go up in some instances based on itemization versus doubling the standard deduction and using it.

JOHN DICKERSON: I think the studies show that in 2023 that it's actually at a much lower income level that people might see their taxes go up. But let me ask you one final question about something that came out of the Virginia race. The issue of Confederate statues was brought up by the Republican candidate, Ed Gillespie, in that race.

You, in South Carolina, of course, went through the painful issue of the Confederate flag. President Trump has said that keeping these statues up is a part of our heritage as Americans. Do you agree with that view? And if not, what should the Republican view be on those?

TIM SCOTT: Well, I think that's going to be decided state by state. But here's one of the most powerful pictures I've ever been a part of, it's having President Obama standing in front of the Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. The Pettus Bridge is the bridge where folks like John Lewis almost lost their lives trying to find a way to secure freedom for all Americans.

The Pettus Bridge, called the Pettus Bridge, having an African American president, decided by the people of America, is the most powerful sign, significant sign, of progress in this nation. There is an opportunity for us to understand and appreciate the provocative nature of race in this nation by looking at the symbols of hate and the symbols of progress. We can do both. The question will be how states make that decision.

JOHN DICKERSON: And do you believe those statues are symbols of hate?

TIM SCOTT: Well, I obviously believe that the Pettus Bridge certainly was a place where hate was carried out in a very violent way. The beauty of coming back 50 years later and co-leading a group of Congress members to the bridge and having the president stand below it is that that is a great picture of progress in this nation.

I can't say that's true for all statues. But I certainly believe that when we have a history, you can't sanitize history is what I'm trying to say. The reality of it is, having the Pettus Bridge there, still named the Pettus Bridge, is, A, a sign of how dark the heart can be, and B, a sign of how light or bright we can become as a nation.

JOHN DICKERSON: Alright, Senator Scott, thanks so much for being with us.